French Court Orders Winners to Split €2 Million Jackpot

Written by Michael F. on 2009-12-17 at 12:23
French gambling laws - GamingZion
Two friends have been waging war against one another in French courts over who is the rightful owner of a €2 million cash jackpot. Back in March, Marie-Hélène Jarguel put €50 into a slot machine at the Palavas-les-Flots casino near the city of Montpellier in south-western France. Her friend Francis Sune pushed the button. The pair watched as the number 7 appeared on all three reels, triggering the machine’s Megapot prize worth €2,174,000.

When the two gamblers went to cash out, the casino would only give them one cheque. Sune asked for a slice, but Jarguel declined. Dissatisfied, Sune decided to sue Jarguel for his share of the money; after all, he was the one who pushed the button.

The court battle was long. Jarguel’s lawyer argued that she had been the one taking the risk by placing her money into the machine. Sune “is not the winning factor,” said the laywer. “He just pushed a button.”

In the end, the court had to do their best to decide what was fair, because French gambling laws have no clear precedent for situations like this. According to the court, French laws offer "no judicial definition of the winner in a slot machine game."

A ruling was finally reached on Tuesday, with the court deciding that the pair must split the prize. Because Jarguel spent her own money, it was decided that her contribution to the win was greater, and she was awarded 80% of the jackpot, with Sune taking the other 20%. Sune is apparently satisfied with the ruling, but his lawyer is considering an appeal.

Gambling is legal throughout the country, and there are more casinos in France than most other countries in Europe. The government is currently in the process of legalizing internet gambling as well. Within a year, players will be able to choose from several online gambling sites in France.

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